A new Russian law has been signed that bans foreign same-sex couples and singles from adopting children - even if they come from countries where governments have redefined marriage to include gay couples.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed the decree this week, which will primarily affect European citizens from countries where same-sex marriage has been created.
The ruling has no effect on the United States because of a law that Russia passed in 2013 that banned adoptions to American couples. The legislation came a year after the United States passed a law against Russian human rights abusers. more >>
Pro-life groups have called Belgium's recent passage of a "right to die" law that allows terminally ill children the permission to end their own lives "abhorrent and inhumane," questioning how a civilized society would sanction such an option.
"No civilized society allows children to kill themselves. Far from a compassionate law, this law hands the equivalent of a loaded gun to a child with the astonishing belief that the child should be free to pull the trigger if he or she so chooses. Belgium's decision to allow this is grotesquely abhorrent and inhumane," said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Roger Kiska in a statement. The Belgian Chamber of Deputies voted 86–44 on Thursday in favor of the controversial law.
ADF added that it had sent the Belgian Parliament a legal analysis that said the proposed law operated under the premise that life is not worth living and children are somehow mature enough to make such a decision on their own. The group added that the newly passed law "exploits vulnerable children by handing to them a 'freedom' that they are completely ill-equipped to bear." more >>
Former Pope Benedict XVI is "at peace," both with himself and the Lord after stepping down from his high-ranking post a year ago, his closest adviser said in a recent and rare interview.
"Pope Benedict is at peace with himself and I think he is even at peace with the Lord," Archbishop Georg Ganswein, who currently works for both the pope emeritus and the current Pope Francis, told Reuters in a rare interview.
"I am certain, indeed convinced, that history will offer a judgment that will be different than what one often read in the last years of his pontificate," Ganswein added. The archbishop currently works as Benedict's secretary as well as the head of Pope Francis' household, and therefore has regular contact with both Catholic leaders. The archbishop has been Benedict's close adviser since before his election to pope in 2005 and still takes daily walks with the former leader each afternoon. more >>
Archaeologists have announced the discovery of footprints left by adults and children more than 800,000 years ago in the East of England's Norfolk County. A scientist describes it as the earliest evidence of human footprints outside of Africa, and "a million to one find."
The footprints, which are direct evidence of the earliest known humans in northern Europe, were found on the shores of Happisburgh, a site of national archaeological importance in the United Kingdom, according to a paper published in the science journal PLoS ONE.
"These are the oldest human footprints outside Africa. It is an extremely rare and lucky discovery," The Telegraph quotes the lead author of the paper, Dr. Nick Ashton, as saying. more >>
SOAR International Ministries, an Alaska-based organization dedicated to missions and outreach in Russia, has partnered with local Russian churches during the Sochi Winter Olympic Games to spread the Gospel to tourists and communities converging on the event.
The ministry sent 40 volunteers to Russia to establish a number of "fun zone" hospitality centers in local church buildings. They will also go out into parks and other public venues to invite others to partake in their activities.
"The team will assist the local church in introducing the community to Christ and who they are in Him," said Greg Mangione of SOAR, according to Mission News Network. "They'll do that through Gospel magic shows, somebody making balloon animals and face paintings, and just a variety of activities and entertainment. The primary goal is to reach out to the people. We pray it'll be a beginning of a long-term relationship with the local churches." more >>
As the Winter Olympic Games get underway in Sochi, Russia, the International Olympic Committee has begun its usual practice of dispersing 100,000 condoms to competitors staying in Olympic Village.
A representative for the International Olympic Committee confirmed to TMZ that its group would be distributing 100,000 condoms to the 2,800 athletes staying in Olympic Village over a period of 16 days. "The distribution of condoms in the village is part of the IOC's involvement in the HIV and AIDS prevention," an unnamed representative for the IOC told TMZ.
Organizers for this year's winter games have dispersed the nearly 3,000 competitors from 88 countries into three housing areas that make up Olympic Village. The IOC's distribution of condoms is not unfamiliar to the Olympic Games. At the 2012 London Olympic Games, women's soccer goalkeeper Hope Solo told ESPN that "there's a lot of sex going on" at the games, adding that some players have sex "right out in the open" at Olympic Village, including "on the grass, between buildings, people are getting down and dirty." The IOC distributed 150,000 condoms at the 2012 Olympics. more >>